“Whoever desires to love life and see good days . . . let him turn away from evil and do good.” (1 Peter 3:10–11)
There is only one basic reason why we disobey the commands of Jesus: it’s because we don’t have heartfelt confidence that obeying will bring more blessing than disobeying. We do not hope fully in God’s promise.
What did he promise? Peter passes on the teachings of Jesus like this:
Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days . . . let him turn away from evil and do good.” (1 Peter 3:9–11)
Peter, following Jesus, is not ashamed to motivate obedience to hard commands — like not returning evil for evil — with the promise of greater joy. “Bless those who revile you . . . that you may obtain a blessing!” Do you want to enjoy everlasting life? Turn away from evil! Joy for all eternity awaits you! Is that not reward enough to avoid the pleasures of vengeance now?
You will always be better off to obey than to disobey Jesus, even if that obedience costs you your life. Jesus said,
Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time . . . with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. (Mark 10:29–30)
The only way to have the power to follow Christ in the costly way of love is to be filled with hope, with strong confidence that, if we lose our life doing his will, we will find it again and be richly rewarded forever.